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Ever since his rapid rise to fame thanks to roles in The Kissing Booth and Euphoria, Jacob Elordi has been grappling with his self- and public image—and he’s taking lessons from ex Kaia Gerber about how to maintain grace in the spotlight.

Despite his recent split from Gerber, whom he dated for more than a year, Elordi happily acknowledged the wisdom of her own public conduct. In a new interview with Men’s Health, the actor opened up about the challenges of staying grounded in the spotlight and the inspiration he’s taken from Gerber. “She handles herself wonderfully publicly,” he said, “and I’ve learned so much from her about how to handle it, how to deal with it and just kind of be whatever about it, you know?”

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After starring in The Kissing Booth, much attention was turned toward Elordi’s body, and for valid reason—he trained twice a day for the film. But amid the influx of new opinions surrounding his appearance, he struggled to keep sight of himself. He said he’s been trying not to base his self-worth so much on his body image. “It’s a slippery slope to put all your value into the vanity of what your body looks like,” he said. “Your body is going to deteriorate.”

Elordi also opened up about trying to strike a balance between humility and confidence when acknowledging his hard-earned fame. He said the Australian culture in which he grew up conditioned him to have a “militant humility” about himself, to the point where he would occasionally undervalue his own achievements. “It helps me check myself a lot of the time and make sure that my head is not, you know, the size of an air balloon,” he said. “But at the same time, sometimes it can be quite crippling, because you don’t want to accept any of the praise or good things that come from the work.”

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For Elordi, being “whatever” about his public image like Gerber doesn’t necessarily rule out offering the occasional PSA that he’s still a human being—particularly amid all the memes and tabloid rumors surrounding his dating life. It just means staying disciplined with his attention and not letting the nonsense threaten his peace of mind. He ultimately hopes to live a life where he remains fully present, which he said entails choosing his surroundings wisely. “I just want to be a part of the world,” Elordi said. “I want to have a life. I want to have the same 80-, 85-year—more or less—experience that everyone has. I don’t want to miss anything by sitting on some overly sour pile of candy.”

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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